Harvard | MK IV
The Harvard series of advanced trainers were British Commonwealth Air Forces versions of the North American Aviation AT-6 Texan trainer used during and after World War II. North American delivered its first Harvards in October 1938 to the Royal Air Force (RAF) and Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). After World War II Canadian Car & Foundry (CCF) in Fort William (now Thunder Bay), Ontario, built the Harvard MK IV, introduced into RCAF service in 1951. The MK IV was similar to the US Air Force remanufactured T-6G Texan. Of the 555 Harvard MK IVs built by CCF the US Air Force purchased 285 as T-6Js, built to T-6G standards, for the MDAP (Mutual Defense Assistance Program). US Air Force personnel tested the aircraft at the CCF plant before acceptance.
A total of 20,110 Harvards were built between 1938 and 1954, 3,370 of them in Canada. Countless numbers of privately owned Harvards are still flying today.
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This aircraft served as a RCAF Harvard IV advanced trainer from 1952 – 1965. RCAF Serial 20405 was purchased in 1968 by Twentieth Century Fox and was never converted, as was initially intended, to a Japanese Zero replica to be flown in the movie “TORA! TORA! TORA!” After the movie, the aircraft was stored in a Mesa, AZ compound in military configuration & dismantled. In 1978 it was sold to the Olsen family who hid it away in a barn until Bob May a Canadian flight and WWII enthusiast / aircraft restorer purchased the airframe in 2005. With Darin Solberg and Mark Tisler the aircraft was painstakingly restored to originality until 2011 when it was sold by Bob May in a lot of aircraft to the Texas Flying Legends Museum. In September of 2011 the aircraft was brought to Aircorps Aviation for paint and final assembly. The aircraft flew its first post restoration flight in August of 2012.